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Overcoming the Mental Obstacles & Emotional Barriers of Downsizing

December 13, 2022

Moving is never a simple proposition. Downsizing — moving to a smaller home that cannot possibly accommodate all of your current possessions — adds an additional complexity to the situation.

At its core, the two major factors that must be contended with in the downsizing process are the mental obstacles and the emotional barriers, both of which cause people to feel overwhelmed. These are among the near-universally common hurdles that prospective continuing care retirement community (CCRC) residents must overcome in order to make their “sign on the dotted line” decision to move to a community.

The mental obstacles of downsizing

Here are just a few examples of the mental obstacles that a senior may need to overcome in order to make the move to a Army Residence Community (ARC).

  • We have a lifetime’s worth of “stuff.” How do I choose which things to keep and what to get rid of?
  • How will I get my house ready to put on the market? It needs a number of repairs.
  • How will I pack up and move all of my possessions? I have a difficult time doing extensive physical labor and feel completely overwhelmed.

The emotional barriers to downsizing

Here are a few of the common emotional sentiments of people who are thinking of downsizing and moving to a CCRC.

  • We’ve lived in this home for most of our lives and formed a lifetime of memories here. How can I let this house go?
  • I feel like I’m still too young to move to a retirement community. I’m don’t feel that old yet.
  • I’m simply not sure if I’m ready to make this move, knowing it will be the last move I will make.

Solutions to address the hindrances to downsizing

For these reasons (and other reasons as well, such as concerns about running out of savings, etc.), it can be tempting to put off an ARC move to another day, another year, some date in the future when you think you will attain the proper level of “readiness.”

But thankfully, there are more and more resources available to assist seniors with the downsizing process.

Senior move managers will help take the reins of the entire downsizing and moving process. They act as project managers and personal organizers, helping seniors sort through their belongings, and then make decisions about what to keep and what to let go of.

Professional moving companies, with very little prep work required on your part, can be hired to pack all of your possessions, load them into the moving truck, and then unload them in your new home, putting furniture in the right spot and even setting up beds.

Seniors Real Estate Specialists® (SRES®) have special training on issues and concerns related to older home buyers and sellers.

Move-in coordinators are becoming more and more common at CCRCs. After making a deposit at ARC and narrowing in on a move date, the community’s move-in coordinator can help with downsizing decisions, referrals, interior space planning for the new home at the ARC, and other moving day logistics. This concierge-type service can alleviate much of the stress —emotional and physical — that typically comes with the ARC moving process.

The welcome relief of downsizing

If you are unsure about whether you are ready to downsize and move to ARC, be sure to weigh all of this information and determine if you are ready to consider letting go of your current home and some of your “stuff.” It is a big decision that should never be taken lightly, but once you pull the trigger, you may just find that it feels as if a weight has been lifted, and you were actually readier for the change than you thought!

packed boxes stacked up
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